ALERT and CORRECTION : The Ear just learned that the WYSO concert will be streamed LIVE on Wisconsin Public Television. View the broadcast live at 7 p.m. on this Saturday, February 20, by clicking on the following link: http://wpt.org/watch/liveevent
By Jacob Stockinger
It seems like one of those situations that put you between a rock and a hard place.
This year, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras founded by the late Marvin Rabin, is celebrating the organization’s milestone 50th anniversary. (Below top is a photo of WYSO rehearsing in 1966; below bottom is a photo of WYSO today.)
Plans for the celebration have been ambitious. Events have included: mounting a special art display at Dane County Regional Airport; publishing a special book; undertaking a foreign concert tour; and holding other events, including special receptions and breakfasts as well as playing opportunities for WYSO alumni who are flying in from all over the country.
Perhaps the single biggest event is the special concert that will take place this Saturday night from 7 to 9 p.m. at Overture Hall in the Overture Center.
The concert features five world premieres of pieces commissioned by WYSO for five different groups or ensembles.
Here are the details from WYSO:
“This concert will be the first time all WYSO orchestras are on stage to perform at the same concert. This concert is generously sponsored by Jerome Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland.
“Each orchestra along with the Percussion Ensemble will perform a world premiere work that was commissioned especially for them.
“Composers of these commissions include Ben Whalund, Olivia Zeuske, Reynard Burns, Donald Fraser and WYSO alumni Andrew Kinney.
“The Percussion Ensemble (below), under the direction of Vicki Jenks will perform Credo by Ben Whalund. Mark Leiser, conductor of Sinfonietta, will lead his young string orchestra in Sonata for Sinfonietta by Olivia Zeuske, Haydn’s La Chasse, and Duke Ellington’s Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. The Brass Choir, under the direction of Brett Keating will then take the stage.
“Following the Brass Choir, Concert Orchestra, under the baton of Christine Mata-Eckel, will perform Biciclette by Reynard Burns, and Del Borgo’s Romany Dances. One of WYSO’s chamber ensembles will perform next. Michelle Kaebisch, conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, will lead her ensemble as they perform In Time by Donald Fraser and Throne Room Scene from Star Wars by John Williams.
The Youth Orchestra, led by music director James Smith, will give the penultimate performance of the evening by performing A Radiant Spirit by Andrew Kinney a and Symphony No. 2, Finale: Moderato assai-Allegro vivo by Tchaikovsky.
“Following these performances the evening will feature a grand finale, arranged by Donald Fraser, with a performance by all nearly 400 members of WYSO, including the WYSO Music Makers Honors Ensembles as they perform Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
Following the concert, all audience members are invited to attend a post-concert reception in the lobby of Overture Center. This reception will be sponsored by the current WYSO Parent Leader Committee
So what is the problem or conundrum The Ear is talking about?
Just this: The main concert by the five orchestras and ensembles with five world premiere commissions is SOLD OUT.
That is good news because the hall and events are expensive to put on, especially at the Overture Center. So congratulations to the hard work that went into such success.
But that is also bad news because The Ear bets that most of the seats understandably went to family, friends and alumni. That, in turn, means that a new public, especially families with young children as potential members, for the ever impressive WYSO – which has trained thousands of middle school and high school students since its inception — will not be reached. And as a provider of music education, the pioneering WYSO simply has no peers in the area.
So The Ear hopes that CDs and DVDs of the concerts will be available after the event. Maybe it will even be aired on Wisconsin Public Television or Wisconsin Public Radio or some other broadcast outlets. (See the correction at the top: The concert will; be streamed live on Wisconsin Public Television )That would certainly reach a wide public with the inspiring mission and outstanding results of music education through WYSO.
And if you want to know more information about WYSO and its 50th anniversary celebration, go to:
In the meantime, The Ear sends hearty and heart-felt congratulations to all the students, teachers, alumni and supporters of WYSO students, who in the YouTube video at the bottom perform the celebratory and triumphant “Great Gate at Kiev” from Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”
Cheers to the next 50 years!